Anime DVD Review: The Complete Shamanic Princess

The Complete Shamanic Princess includes all six episodes of the OVA series. The episodes can be watched with the original Japanese audio with English subtitles or with the English dub.

The Complete Shamanic Princess
English Publisher: U.S. Manga Corps
Format: DVD
Release Date: February 13, 2001

The series focuses on characters who come from the Guardian World, which lies in another dimension. The inhabitants of the world have a duty to guard and control magical forces, and they possess varying levels of magical power. These magical powers can range anywhere from changing shapes, destroying objects, suspending time, to calling up elemental beings to do their bidding. The source of all this power is a mysterious painting known as the Throne of Yord, which is overseen by the Elders and the Neutralizers that they train. The story begins with Kagetsu, one of the Neutralizers, stealing the Throne of Yord and taking it to Earth. The Elders send two teams to Earth to reclaim the Throne of Yord.

The main character of Shamanic Princess is Tiara, and she is a member of the Guardian World’s royal family. Even though she may be royalty, Tiara is hot headed and has a short temper.  She and her “partner,” a ferret-like creature named Japolo, are one of the teams sent to Earth to retrieve the Throne of Yord. Lena, the head of the other team, has a shared past with Tiara, Kagetsu, and Kagetsu’s sister, Sara. Tiara and Lena encounter each other on Earth when they both pose as normal girls and transfer students at a girls’ college.

Tiara’s mission is complicated by the fact that she once had a romantic relationship with Kagetsu, and the fact that she and Lena have a strained friendship. Kagetsu’s sister, Sara, is a major key to the entire plot. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but by the end of the fourth episode, there’s basically a “happily ever after” kind of ending. When I saw how episode four ended, I wondered what could be left to cover in the two remaining episodes. Episodes five and six show the characters when they were younger, and the events that ultimately led to how the series began in the first episode.

The first episode opens with Tiara’s arrival on Earth, and the story basically gets rolling right from that point. Through the first four episodes, we learn information about the inter-relationships between the various characters, which helps to viewer to understand what’s going on. However, after watching Shamanic Princess, I think it would have been stronger if the last two episodes had been the first two episodes in the series. With that kind of buildup, the viewer would be much more emotionally invested in what happens during the first four episodes and have a better understanding of what’s going on.

I also believe that the overall story of Shamanic Princess feels rushed. I think this would have been a stronger project if more episodes had been devoted to it, so some of the plot points could have been fleshed out more.

In the end, Shamanic Princess was just an okay anime. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t terrible, either. It just kind of “was.” To be honest, probably the best part of Shamanic Princess would be the animation in the main story, because I can’t say the same about the animation in the opening credit sequence. Even if the story was more on the “meh” side, at least the anime was enjoyable enough to look at.

Since this is one of the releases from the early years of DVDs, this includes bonus features in the main portion and extras on a DVD-ROM portion that can only be accessed on a PC that has a DVD-ROM drive. Fortunately, I still have access to a DVD-ROM drive, so I was able to see all the bonus features.

The main bonus features are rather minimal. “Meet The Characters” has a menu you can go through to select a character. When you click on a character, you get a screen of text talking about the character, which is followed by a scene from the show that features the character. While this is nothing impressive by today’s standards, it was typical for DVDs release during this era.

“About the Artist” has a page of text talking about Atsuko Ishida, the character designer for Shamanic Princess. There are also two Japanese trailers.

The DVD-ROM extras includes several items. “Scripts” include scripts for the English dub and are available for all six episodes of the series. “Art Gallery” includes promotional art and stills from the show. “Character Bios” includes the biographies from the “Meet The Characters” feature, and this felt like a repetitive bonus feature. “Reviews” has text of some reviews that were published for the English release of Shamanic Princess. “Cast” has a listing of the Japanese and English voice actors for the characters. “Production Credits” is a listing of production credits. And “Links” has links to Central Park Media, Animail, Animeone.com, the website for the series, and a release schedule. I didn’t bother to click on the links, but I expect most, if not all, of these sites no longer exist.

This DVD release worked for its era, but it’s rather lackluster by today’s standards. Also, the OVA series itself isn’t anything to write home about, so I would be hesitant to recommend this release. And since it’s something that’s long out of print, it would be harder to come across.

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